Exclusive: Royal Enfield EVs take shape, a street bike and an adventure bike may be first to roll out
Based on its own architectures, there is significant progress being made on two products - L1A and L1K.
Royal Enfield, the world's largest mid-size motorcycle maker is making rapid strides in the electrification space. Autocar Professional learns the company is likely to showcase a high-performance off-road adventure electric motorcycle at the upcoming EICMA two-wheeler show in Milan, Italy.
Autocar India had reported that the company is likely to showcase a high performance off road adventure electric motorcycle at the upcoming EICMA two-wheeler show in Milan, Italy.
On Tuesday at EICMA 2023, Royal Enfield showcased two motorcycles. one was the all-new Himalayan, while the other was the Himalayan EV concept test bed.
Not much was shared about the Himalayan EV prototype, but it will serve as a test bed for the company to try out its new electric powertrains and other components. The company claims that the Himalayan EV test bed has been through extensive wind-tunnel testing to bring down its drag coefficient as much as possible. The battery pack and motor are off the shelf components and this prototype has been under development for 18 months now.
Several people in the know said that while that is the concept for the future, they are likely to give a peak into a motorcycle that Royal Enfield may bring in based on Stark Future’s Motorcycle architecture.
Based on its own architectures, there is significant progress being made on two products - L1A and L1K. With the projects reaching a critical milestone, an entire floor has been given to the EV team at the company's corporate office in OMR in Chennai, said people in the know.
One of the several people Autocar Professional spoke to said that the L1A is going to be amongst the lightest vehicle architectures developed based on the Flying Flea concept - a kind of petrol motorcycle that the British Army used during World War 2.
An email sent to Royal Enfield did not elicit any response.
Considering that Stark Future’s VARG electric dirt bike has serious performance claims, if Royal Enfield decides to adopt their platform (either entirely or use it as a starting point), its product will be quite capable as well.
The Royal Enfield Flying Flea was a lightweight motorcycle developed as a means of transport that could be dropped by parachute on the battlefields of WWII, to quickly carry messages between airborne and assault troops., Post-war, it served as an inexpensive means of transportation. Taking that into account, Royal Enfield could position the electric Flying Flea as an entry-level model targeted at commuters.
The first tooled-up L1A bike is likely to be ready within a couple of quarters. It may be a single-seater - and the company has put in a lot of effort to ensure that it takes away as much of mass and weight as possible to ensure a decent range and performance.
The second project - L1K is likely to have an adventure off-roader form factor. Both these models are likely to deliver a peak power of 16 kW on the fly with 9 kW of static power - this is almost three times the power of Ather 450 X and equivalent to its current 350 cc motorcycles.
L1A and L1K are likely to be powered by a 60–120-volt battery system, the motorcycle based on Stark's architecture may get a 350-volt battery, which is four to five times higher than the Tata Tiago.
To be sure, there is a 48–60-volt LFP battery also being explored for a more affordable alternative.
For the first two projects - L1A and L1K - Royal Enfield is planning for production of 60,000 per annum, which is likely to double in 2026, and a predominant share of the models will be for the overseas market.
To be sure, the company’s top management has confirmed that the electric vehicle based on both Royal Enfield’s own and Stark Motorcycle’s platform is currently under development.
Royal Enfield has committed over Rs 1,500 crore for its EV business and it has already brought on board key top management executives.
Umesh Krishnappa – as a CTO has been driving the development project, Royal Enfield hired ex-Ducati veteran Mario Alvisi to be a Chief Growth Officer for the EV business.
Both Umesh and Mario report to the CEO of Royal Enfield B Govindarajan. A dedicated EV unit has already been formed – which operates like a start-up and gets the desired higher time and resources from the top management.
While Royal Enfield has already acquired new land for the EV facility in Cheyyar, the first set of electric vehicles however will be coming out of its Orgadam facility – from a separate manufacturing line.
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